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Analysis Of The Devil In The White City

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1074 words
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The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson contains extremely detailed information of the happenings during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 between two men whom had never met. This #1 National Bestseller includes the years of building before and during the Fair and the challenges that came with the famous architect, Daniel H. Burnham. The pages also contain disturbing information about the urban serial killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes, who brutally murdered at least nine individuals throughout the years while construction went on before and during the Chicago World’s Fair. Those who are interested in murder trials and history of the United States would enjoy this book.
Erik Larson’s novel is to be considered “new” because he offers the public two completely different stories of events that each occurred during the years 1891-1894 in the White City; Chicago, Illinois.
The Devil in the White City is a four part book that takes place between 1890 and 1893 with a small part of the book, part IV, in the era of 1895. The nonfiction novel includes two different biographies about two different men; Daniel H. Burnham and Dr. H. H. Holmes.
Burnham is a well-known architect around the world who previously completed work in “Chicago, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Manila, and many other cities” (Pg. 3). He was offered the job to design and build the buildings that would be a part of the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair), after Chicago won the bid for the fair in 1890, and eventually took the offer with his assistant, John Root. The construction of the fair began in 1891 and did not completely finish until the fair was already halfway over in the summer of 1893. During those two and a half years, the success and reputatio...

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...t the book was at times, the stories skipped around so you were thrown into Burnham’s situation, and then right back in Holmes’ situation in the same chapter, so that made the book a bit hard to follow. Also, since there were so many names of people involved in both stories, it was difficult to remember who each of them were and what they did to be a part of the story.
Erik Larson was motivated to tell these two incredible stories because he became so interested and astonished in the Chicago World’s Fair the more he read about it. Larson could not believe that the city of Chicago would “take on the impossible” and that “George Ferris would attempt to build something so big and novel-and that he would succeed on his first try” (Pg. 393). He has always loved the city of Chicago and wanted to know more about the history, so this was also a motive to write the novel.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that burnham was offered the job to design and build the buildings that would be a part of the world's columbian exposition (chicago world’s fair), after chicago won the bid for the fair in 1890.
  • Explains that dr. holmes came to chicago to become a pharmacist or doctor and was drawn to work in the city of englewood. after the shop's owner passed away, holmes bought the store and allowed the widow to continue living on the second floor apartments.
  • Opines that erik larson wrote the devil in the white city to show that there can be two sides to people and that individuals are not always who they seem to be.
  • Analyzes how erik larson's the devil in the white city contains detailed information of the happenings during the chicago world’s fair in 1893 between two men whom had never met.
  • Explains that larson relied on various public libraries, but no internet sources or hired researchers, to acquire his information to write this novel.
  • Opines that larson included the two men and their stories simultaneously, which made the reader see that it was not all happy times during the years of the fair.
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